Archive for October, 2014

Apparently, I need to go back to school. (Wait, I’m already in school!) I guess I need to go back to science class, then.

Because my coffee experiment failed. It failed hard. In week two, when I had determined that I could have two cups of coffee, I actually managed to finish both weeks two and three, all in a mere seven days. Except not in a good way. More like I just drank way too much coffee from Starbucks on those days.

So I went ahead and looked up the steps of the scientific method:

  1. Ask a question.
  2. Do background research.
  3. Construct a hypothesis.
  4. Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment.
  5. Analyze your data and draw a conclusion.
  6. Communicate your results.

Well, I asked a question – can I cut down on my Starbucks addiction?

My background research…not so much. I seem to have skipped that part a bit. I mean, I noted that I drank it almost every day, but I didn’t pay attention to how often it really was or how badly I was really addicted.

My hypothesis was that I could make it with one day a week of Starbucks simply because I would know it was better for me in multiple way.

I tested that hypothesis. And, well, again, not so much.

So here I go, analyzing my data:
I was miserable for the first week.
In the second week, I revised the Starbucks allowance, and I still managed to fail at keeping it down.

The conclusion:
I can’t go down from almost seven days a week to one day a week. It just isn’t going to happen.

Now let me communicate the result:
I will try to keep reducing my Starbucks intake. I will actually keep track of how often I buy it, and when/why I buy it. (E.g. am I always buying it mid-day? In the morning? In the evening? When am I buying it so that I can sit in Starbucks and get some work done versus when am I buying it because I want to bring it to school so I will stay awake in class?)

I think figuring out these things will help me because I’ll have my background research, and maybe there will be a redo of the experiment in another month or so…but with more reasonable requirements on me…

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I did it!

I made it a week!

And during that week, I realized a few things…

  1. It is super unbelievably hard to avoid buying coffee 6 out of 7 days a weeks.
  2. It might have been slightly unrealistic to think I could go from 7 days a week of coffee to 1 day a week of coffee.
  3. I will definitely not be able to keep this up for the month.

I know, I know, I’m going back on my word pretty quickly. But here’s the thing – I did it, even though it was hard, but it’s going to get harder.

Next weekend, I have to make a run up to Dallas, driving a friend’s daughter up and back and staying there for two days.

I cannot make that drive without Starbucks. Seriously, it just is not going to happen. Starbucks is part of my driving mojo. It’s magic. It keeps me going when I’m tired, and with a four to five hour drive through the middle of nowhere, I’m not sure how else I can make it.

So I’m not dropping the challenge. But I am going to adjust it.

Instead of dropping to one day a week, I’m going to allow myself two days a week. That means I can buy it on the Friday when I drive up and then again on the Sunday when I drive home. It means that when I’m absolutely exhausted or stressed, I can go ahead and get it without wondering if I’m ruining my week by having it so early.

I’m still going to try to keep it to once a week, but if I can’t, it will be okay. Maybe next month I’ll drop back down and see if I can do it. But life is about being flexible, and I’m not going to make myself miserable when all I need to do is flex a bit.

Clearly, I needed to do this experiment/challenge because it’s only Friday, and I last bought Starbucks on Monday…and, wow, do I want me some Starbucks!

I’m going to hold out – really, I’m going to!  At least I’m going to try.  But I have to admit that the urge to give in is strong.

I had kind of hoped to find a loophole in my original post, something that specified that it only counted if I bought myself Starbucks, and that way I could ask other people to get me Starbucks. Nope.  That’s not in there.  I never once say that it’s only if I buy it myself.  I straight out said that I was aiming for only four Starbucks drinks in four weeks.  Why didn’t I give myself a loophole??

So, sad as it is, I’m fighting the good fight and trying to avoid giving in.  I only have to make it two+ days: the rest of today and then Saturday and Sunday.  I have a feeling I know where I’ll find myself on Monday morning, though…

I’ve decided to issue myself a challenge. I’m going to go four weeks with only four Starbucks drinks.

Seriously.

If you know me, you know that sounds like it’ll be impossible, but I think it’s completely do-able. I’m committed. (Yes, yes, this is where all the “you should be committed” jokes can go.)

Now, keep in mind, I’m not giving up coffee in general. I’m not that crazy yet. I’ll still be able to make myself coffee.

But I figured out that by going down to four Starbucks drinks per month, I would save over $100 in those 28 days. So half-way in, I’m going to deposit $50 into savings. At the end, another $50.

Can I really do it?

Okay, honestly, I’m not entirely sure.

Why am I going to try to do it?

Because I want to teach myself something. I want to teach myself that Starbucks is a luxury item. I don’t need it. I might want it, but that’s a whole different thing than need. And if I’m going to spend time complaining about being poor and not having enough money to do things I want to do, maybe I need to cut back on those things that make me poor.

There are other benefits to the great coffee experiment, too. Other than saving a bunch of money, I’ll also be saving calories. Right now, I drink almost 200 liquid calories a day. And a lot of that is sugar because I like mochas, and I can’t stand their sugar free syrup.

It will cut back my footprint a bit. Less driving if I don’t need to go buy coffee. Less paper and plastic from the cups I always get. I’ll be using plastic tumblers and cups that I can bring home and wash when I’m done with them.

It’s also good because if I can get myself to give up Starbucks, what else can I give up? What other money can I save every month to save up for something good – something worthwhile?

I need to cut back and save, and this is a good first step. Now I just have to figure out what step two will be…

I decided to try something almost two months ago. It was an app I found for my iPhone called “Good Habits.” This little program lets you track good habits that you want to keep or develop.

Originally, I included writing and other goals – things like making sure I took time to write every day, exercise every day, create something every day…but then I discovered something.

Gift: Image by Serge Bertasius Photography via freedigitalphotos.net

Image by Serge Bertasius Photography via freedigitalphotos.net

It worked.

Seriously, I found that being able to check it off, being able to see how many days I had kept up on those good habits really helped inspire me to come up with new good habits.

Then I came up with my favorite good habit of all times: “Do something nice for someone else.”

I added it to my phone 49 days ago.

And I’ve achieved my habit every day for all 49 of those days.

Maybe it wasn’t anything huge. And sometimes it was cheap – or free. I would donate small amounts of money to causes people I knew cared about. Sent (or delivered) flowers or food. Written notes and emails. Made cookies. Gave people rides. Bought coffee.

And know what? It’s been fun!

It’s kind of cool to see that I can think of something nice to do for someone else every day. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time and effort, and there’s something super satisfying to realize that I can do it. That I want to do it.

But, to keep this clear, I’m still a massive bitch, and I hate all of humanity. Just saying.

Grumpy Child by Clare Bloomfield via freedigitalphotos.net

Image by Clare Bloomfield via freedigitalphotos.net